A mum says she’s never got a fine for taking her children out of school to go on holiday and instead has saved £10,000 by travelling at cheaper times.
Mum Catherine Warrilow refuses to pay the extortionate prices during school holidays so has taken her two children out of classes for the last nine years and never had any issues.
The 43-year-old says she wouldn’t take her kids, Noah, 14, and Sully, 9, out of school for long. Usually they miss a “few days maximum” around the February half term or in the summer close to the summer holidays, reports My London.
Speaking to My London she said: “We feel comfortable as a family that our children’s education isn’t going to suffer as a result, we’re happy to make that decision. The only exception would be during an exam period or if us or the kids thought there was something unmissable.”
There are a host of reasons why Catherine chooses to do this, cost being one of them. Depending on flight times and where she wants to go, Catherine says she can save up to £2,000 a time doing things her way which has included trips to Egypt, Mexico, and Lanzarote, ideally from Heathrow.
Another reason is that “There is nothing that you can’t catch up on in school if need be, whereas missing out on an opportunity to see a different country, experience a different culture, eat different food, speak a different language.”
She added: “You only get a finite amount of time to do that as a family.”
Some parents argue that Catherine ought to have fewer holidays in the allocated term time, something Catherine accepts, and respects that parents have different ideas of what’s best for their kids.
She said: “I think this narrative coming out of the media about how important it is for kids to be in school is not born out of families taking their kids out of school for a couple of days before the holidays.”
Catherine added that this may be “born out of Covid” and kids being home-schooled during the period. But claims that there is a far higher rate of general absenteeism since children returned to school.
And it’s not just some parents who may think she should take fewer holidays, her children’s schools aren’t always best pleased either. But this doesn’t faze her.
She said her kids have been to three schools and the reactions have ranged from “having to put it in writing, to needing to go into a formal meeting to be told that the school doesn’t allow unauthorised absence because I believe they have to do that by law.
“We’ve also had slightly less formal meetings saying they are unable to authorise it but have a nice holiday kind of thing.”
There have also been arguments raised regarding the impact cutting school has on Noah and Sully’s educational development. But Catherine feels that parents are children’s best educators and that the kids are learning all the time.
She said: “I think if I took no responsibility for their development outside of the classroom and their sole means of stimulus and education was at school then potentially I could well be impacting their education, however, we are both very proactive with their learning, whether that is teaching them the value of money when we eat out, working out how much the bill came to each, reading with them, taking them to new places.
“Even sitting with them doing their homework, playing board games, all that stuff that I feel is as important to them as their experiences in the classroom as well as teaching them about what we both do for a living, and the world of work and that kind of thing.”